“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
Moon Valley: The Force Awakens
In my presentation to the Moon Valley Women’s Club, at the Phoenix City Grille, I rattled on about the importance of viewing ourselves as being on a quest , or a “Hero’s Journey.”
Here is how W.H. Murray (in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition) famously related the benefits of his own Hero’s Journey:
The moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves too.
All Sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen
Incidents and meetings and material assistance,
Which no man could have dreamt
Would have come his way.
My point is, we light a flame inside of ourselves when we begin to view our life as a Hero’s Journey. What’s more, we light the flame inside of others by converting our obstacles and challenges into stories of inspiration, motivation and humor.
Life as Tragedy
Of course, not everyone sees life as a quest. My friend Henry refers to himself a “serial entrepreneur” (code for “unemployed” or “unemployable”) and he sees life as more of a a tragedy. The other day he told me,
“You know Terry, ten years ago we had Steve Jobs. We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Now, we have no jobs; we have no cash; and we have no hope.”
I am more optimistic than Henry is. My response to Henry is, “Martin Luther King never said ‘I have a complaint.’ ”
Disaster as Inspiration
I often relate my incident of being stuck overnight in the Phoenix airport after a flight cancelation, which turned into an extraordinary bonding experience with my two young boys (as related here).
One of the activities in my presentation is to have participants write down experiences in which disaster or tragedy has struck. Then, I ask them to write the story again, this time identifying how the disaster resulted in inspiration or humor, when viewed from the rear view mirror of life.
These heartfelt “tragedy to inspiration” stories can be quite poignant. For example:
1) A son who survived surgeries for a serious illness, now wants to study medicine and become a doctor;
2) Dropping out of college resulted in a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity; and,
3) A divorce became the opportunity to start a new, more inspired, life.
Many a story has tingled my back or brought a tear to my eye.
It can inspire awe to look back on challenging incidents and realize how they fit into the bigger picture of life.